Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Mental Illness and Smoking Show Strong Links

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Mental Illness and Smoking Show Strong Links

Article excerpt

Mentally ill Americans are nearly twice as likely to smoke as those without mental illness, according to a study reported in late November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The study, conducted by a research group led by Karen Lasser of the Cambridge Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, suggests that people with mental illness account for nearly one half of the United States tobacco market.

The study used population-based data from a national survey mandated by US Congress to determine the prevalence of psychiatric disorders. The researchers questioned a sample of 4411 non-institutionalized people, who had participated in the survey, regarding their use of tobacco and also submitted them to a standard psychiatric diagnostic interview to determine prevalence of mental illnesses, as defined by international diagnostic criteria.

Of those who had ever had mental illness in their lifetimes 34.8% were current smokers, vs 22.5% of those who had never been mentally ill, and 55.3% had smoked at some time in their lives, vs 39.1% of people without mental illness, the study found. Extrapolating their results to the US population, the researchers estimated that persons with a recent diagnosable mental disorder consumed nearly half the cigarettes smoked in the United States. …

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